New African American historical collections are ‘a tremendous asset’ for UAB Libraries

Written by  Karen Templeton

Educational e-learning class and e-book digital technology concept with pc computer notebook open in blur school library or classroom background among old stacks of book, textbook archive collectionCongress of Racial Equality and members of the All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C. march in memory of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing victims. The banner, which says “No more Birminghams,” demonstrates feelings in the aftermath of the bombing. Photograph by Thomas J. O'Halloran.UAB Libraries has added new resource collections focused on African American studies and history. 

“I am particularly thrilled to make this announcement in February as we celebrate and honor Black History Month,” said Kasia Gonnerman, dean of UAB Libraries. “I’ve already received a number of enthusiastic responses from several UAB faculty, who look forward to incorporating these new resources into their teaching and research.”

The new acquisitions, which can be accessed from the library databases, comprise three sub-collections — Black Studies Center, Black Abolitionists Papers and ProQuest Civil Rights Era — and 14 historical newspapers, including The Chicago Defender (1912-1975), The New York Times (1851-2017), The Baltimore Afro-American‎ (1893-1988), Philadelphia Tribune‎  (1912-2001) and Pittsburgh Courier‎ (1911-2002).

UAB is evaluating and refining courses as part of implementing its Signature Core Curriculum, which will replace the existing core beginning in 2022. Many of the newly acquired collections will become useful for integrating classroom learning with local and world events, a key component of the new curriculum.

“Approaching learning from important historical and cultural perspectives is integral to the evolving UAB undergraduate experience,” said UAB Provost Pam Benoit. “Access to the new materials that provide a deeper understanding of Black history and its central place in the Birmingham community is a tremendous asset for our faculty and students.”

UAB librarians are available to assist faculty and students using these new collections, and UAB Libraries is planning to launch an undergraduate research award for notable academic research papers or projects that employ these new resources.

UAB Libraries comprises the Mervyn H. Sterne Library, which supports teaching and research in arts, humanities, business, education, engineering, natural sciences mathematics, social and behavioral sciences, and Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, which provides services and resources for users in medicine, nursing, optometry, dentistry, public health, health professions and joint health sciences. 

Learn more about UAB Libraries and its resources at